Flights cancelled after Air India Express crew go on 'mass sick leave'

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At least 86 Air India Express flights have been cancelled after cabin crew went on a "mass sick leave", official sources said on Wednesday.

International and domestic flights, including services to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, were cancelled after about 300 senior cabin crew members reported sick at the last minute and switched off their mobile phones.

An Air India Express spokesperson said, "A section of our cabin crew has reported sick at the last minute...resulting in flight delays and cancellations. While we are engaging with the crew to understand the reasons behind these occurrences, our teams are actively addressing this issue to minimise any inconvenience caused to our guests as a result.

"We sincerely apologise to our guests for this unexpected disruption," the spokesperson added. The airline has offered full refunds or free rescheduling of the impacted flights.

The airline is currently also in the process of merging with AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India), with sources saying senior employees, including cabin crew, are unhappy with those changes. 

According to sources, staff at Air India Express alleged there was a lack of equality in the treatment of the staff following various mergers.

They claim that some staff members were offered lower job positions despite clearing interviews.

The crew has also alleged that the key parts of the compensation package have been modified or removed and that the airline management is shutting down dissenting voices.

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